What Questions Should I Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer?

June 11, 2024 | Thomas L. Stroble
What Questions Should I Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer?

A car accident injures you, leaving you with piles of medical bills, and you can’t get out of bed to go to work. You need a personal injury lawyer but aren’t sure who to choose.

Personal injury attorney advertisements are everywhere, so knowing where to turn for help is hard. Once you have the names of a few good attorneys, what are some of the questions you should ask? Keep reading to learn more about finding the best personal injury lawyer.

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Important Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Attorney

Asking a prospective personal injury attorney certain questions will help determine if they possess the qualifications, experience, and financial resources to represent you.

Asking questions also will demonstrate the attorney’s personality and communication skills so you can decide if they are a good fit for you. You can ask as many questions as possible during your initial, free consultation with a personal injury attorney. Some key questions to ask are below.

How Experienced Are You With Personal Injury Cases? 

Understanding the attorney’s skill, experience, and comfort with personal injury cases at the start of your meeting is important. Just because an attorney has practiced for 20 years doesn’t always mean they have the skills and experience for your injury claim.

Find out how many personal injury cases like yours they have handled in the past one or two years and how they worked out.

Can You Handle My Case? 

"Personal Injury Law" written on the wall with a gavel on a wooden background, representing the concept of law.

A skilled and experienced attorney knows their limits. They can only devote so much time, energy, and experience to a case. The best attorney believes that, in any case, they sign onto and will not take a case if they don’t think they have the time or can win it.

A one-person personal injury law firm may have more problems with time availability. Hiring a larger, experienced personal injury law firm to handle your case may be better. Regardless, ensure that the attorney has the time and skill to handle your case.

What Does It Cost to Hire You? 

Most people know that attorneys charge a high billable hour rate, sometimes hundreds of dollars per hour. However, personal injury law works differently. Most personal injury lawyers do not charge upfront or hourly legal fees. Instead, they charge a contingency fee.

A contingency fee means the lawyer is paid a percentage of your compensation award, whether from a settlement or jury decision. Ensure that you understand the contingency fee percentage that the attorney charges.

Also, ensure you know if all legal expenses are paid from your compensation at the end of the case or if you will need to pay for anything. Some attorneys may cover all case expenses and add those costs to their bill at the end of the case.

While a contingency fee can seem like a large chunk of your settlement, remember that a skilled attorney will often get you more money than you could have gotten on your own.

Many people who want to save money and not hire attorneys take a low settlement offer. Insurance companies know that people without attorneys often settle their cases for a fraction of the case value. Don’t let that happen to you!

Do I Have a Good Case? 

Law consultancy concept: A male client explaining some confusing details of the contract to the attorney.

Ask the attorney about the strengths and weaknesses of your case. It allows you to hear them speak about your case and your odds of getting fair compensation. You also will learn about the attorney’s communication style, legal skills, and knowledge of personal injury law.

If the attorney doesn’t think your case is strong, they will tell you. They also will not take your accident case if they aren’t confident it will end in compensation. Most personal injury lawyers work by contingency agreement, so they aren’t paid if they don’t win.

What Are My Case Weaknesses? 

Knowing any weak areas of the case from the start is good. There may be something about the accident circumstances that makes proving fault difficult. 

Perhaps there is an opportunity for the defendant to blame you for the accident. It’s okay if your case has weak points. The key is for the attorney to identify them early and build the case with them in mind. When your attorney knows all case weaknesses, they can focus on the strengths and build around the weak areas.

How Many Cases Like Mine Have You Taken? 

It helps if the personal injury attorney has handled an accident case like yours before. For example, if a truck rear-ended you and fractured your pelvis, it’s useful if your attorney deals with large truck accident cases often.

Truck accidents are especially complex and involve many potentially liable parties and aggressive insurance company attorneys who want to deny liability. In this case, an experienced attorney is a good person to have in your corner.

You should also have a personal injury attorney who has handled cases similar to yours, both settled and gone to trial. Many accident claims result in a settlement, but you should have an attorney ready to go to court and win.

How Many Cases Do You Handle at Once? 

If a personal injury attorney already handles many cases, they may not have time to give you proper attention. You want to have a busy attorney, but they also should have time to give your case the attention it requires.

If they don’t have time to give you full attention, your case can be handled by a less experienced attorney. This isn’t always bad, but you should understand who handles your case from the beginning.

Do not allow the statute of limitations to expire. Your state’s statute of limitations to file a lawsuit can typically be two to four years.

An experienced attorney usually won’t take a case unless they have plenty of time before the statute of limitations expires. Ensure you start looking for a personal injury attorney at least a year before the statute of limitations.

What Is My Accident Claim Worth? 

Personal injury claim form for lawyers: calculation of compensation.

The personal injury attorney has not fully researched your case and seen all the evidence, so they can’t give you an accurate potential case value. But the attorney probably has experience in accident cases like yours with similar injuries. So, they may give you a rough settlement range that they have seen in similar cases.

Will the Insurance Company Settle? 

There is a good chance the case will settle, but let your personal injury attorney negotiate with them. Your attorney can tell you if they think the insurance company will settle or if it could go to trial. A trial takes longer, and you should know if that is possible early.

Also, insurance companies are known for making low initial offers in the hope that a naive injury victim will take it. Many injury victims don’t understand their case value, and the insurance company hopes they can get you to sign off before hiring an attorney. Do not let this happen to you.

Always have any accident case involving injuries caused by someone else reviewed by an attorney before signing a settlement agreement with the insurance company. The consultation is free, so there is no reason not to talk to a personal injury lawyer.

Do I Pay Anything if We Lose? 

Personal injury attorneys don’t take cases they think won’t lead to compensation. After all, they don’t get paid a penny if you don’t get a settlement or jury award. However, you never know, and getting nothing is possible.

Some personal injury attorneys will state which case-related expenses are your responsibility if you don’t win. Ensure you understand which legal fees you may have to pay.

How Many Cases Have You Won at Trial? 

Most personal injury claims are settled. Injury victims usually need money, and both sides benefit by settling out of court. However, a trial may be needed if neither party can negotiate a fair settlement.

You need a skilled litigator with an impressive trial record if you need to go to court. Insurance settlement and trial legal skills are very different things. You want an attorney who excels at both.

What Will I Do in the Case? 

Attorneys advising clients in cases of fraud by a business partner in the formation of a joint company, providing guidance on litigation.

Before hiring your attorney, you should know what they need from you. Some injury victims want to be involved in their cases by attending depositions and other case meetings. If you want this, you should know if your lawyer is open to this. Some are not.

On the other hand, some injury claimants want their lawyers to handle it all and only contact them for case updates. Be sure that you and your lawyer are on the same page about how you will work together.

How Will You Communicate With Me? 

An attorney should always keep you updated about what is happening in your case. Being in the dark about what will happen with your case and the money you are counting on can cause stress. After all, you may be out of work and have trouble paying your bills, so you want to know when and how the case will be resolved.

The law firm should regularly inform you who is doing what in your case. You should have the contact information of every person working on the case. Understand the best way to get information about the case, whether by phone, text, email, etc. You should also tell them the best way for them to reach you and when.

You should understand in the first consultation how often the attorney will update you on your case, too. Also, tell your personal injury lawyer how involved you want to be.

Can I Talk to Your Previous Clients? 

It’s okay to ask a prospective personal injury lawyer for a few references. Your attorney shouldn’t mind giving you the contact details for recently satisfied clients. You want to talk to real past clients and see how satisfied they are.

How Long Will a Case Resolution Take? 

You may be out of work with unpaid medical and regular bills. You should know how long the attorney thinks the case will take. Even on a minor accident claim, settlement negotiations can take a few months.

Negotiations can drag out longer if there are serious injuries and six figures in damages. If the case goes to trial, it can take more time. The case could take more or less time than the attorney says, but it’s good to ask what they think.

Be Careful About Solicitation Letters

"PERSONAL INJURY LAW" written on a burgundy folder, set against the background of a judge's gavel.

If an accident hurts you, you may receive multiple legal solicitation letters in the mail from local personal injury attorneys. Some law firms may have their staff check local accident reports and send letters to every accident victim whose address they can find.

Generally, these law firms are less experienced and do not get enough referrals from past clients to stay in business. They also may be a high volume quick settlement practice. These law firms stay in business by taking a lot of cases and doing fast settlements. That might work financially for them, but it’s probably not best for you.

You should be skeptical of any personal injury law firm that has to solicit aggressively for your business. Instead, look for experienced attorneys in your community with many positive reviews online. Also, ask your friends and family for an experienced personal injury lawyer who helped them.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today 

No one wants a car or other type of accident to injure you, but it happens to people every day.

If you suffered an injury in an accident because of someone’s negligence, you may need a personal injury lawyer to obtain the most compensation.

Ensure that you ask the prospective attorney the questions mentioned in this article. That way, you will hire a qualified lawyer to obtain the most for your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your community today for a free consultation.

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Thomas L. Stroble Author Image

Thomas L. Stroble


Mr. Stroble is a highly accomplished graduate of Michigan State University, with degrees in both science and law. He specializes in commercial lawsuits and personal injury cases. Licensed to practice law in Michigan and even the U.S. Supreme Court, he’s a well-qualified legal expert. Besides his career in law, he loves outdoor activities and volunteers as a part-time police officer in Birmingham.

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